So, what exactly is an author platform? In simplest terms, an author platform is your ability to sell books because of who you are and whom you are connected to. But where do you start? Start by taking stock of all the resources you already have at your disposal. You may not have a large author mailing list, but you can send individual emails to friends and family and ask them to buy your book and join your mailing list. You can also ask them to spread the word about you to other friends and family, so you can start to grow.
The point here: Look around, take stock, and determine whom you’re connected to and how. The network you already have might help you build your author platform further.
Here’s how you can get started building your author platform.
Create a Website
A website is a must for helping people find you and your books, so if you don't have one already, consider getting one. Be sure to update your content regularly, keeping the website fresh and current. Include information about you and your book, pictures of your cover, reviews, a schedule of speaking events, endorsements, articles or any other press materials, video clips, and anything else that may help boost interest in your site.
Be Prepared with a Press Kit
The press kit should include a one-page press release highlighting your unique direction and the benefit of your content, an author bio, and perhaps a photo and a sell sheet with book ordering information. You can even include extras, such as a JPEG of your author photo and book cover, an article detailing the key elements of your book and storyline, and a mock interview with ten questions and answers that can be used for print media.
Develop a Blog
Become involved in the writing community. Your blog should be less about pitching your book and more about contributing to a discussion. Once you’ve created content for your blog, be sure to share it across all your social media platforms. Identify Facebook groups in your niche and share your blog content with the group. Don't forget to ask family and friends, as well as additional connections you may have, to share your content.
Create a sign-up form that connects to an email management system like MailChimp or iContact. Put it on your homepage to capture email addresses and send out worthwhile content to your subscribers.
Social Media Presence
The key to social media is posting regularly and engaging people. You want shares because shares lead to more follows. Rather than spreading yourself thin across multiple platforms, focus consistently on the two platforms that provide the most value to you and your work.
Any time you’re in front of an audience to talk about your work is a great opportunity to build or expand your platform.
From podcasts to blogs to radio and television, any opportunity to talk about your work is a chance to expand your platform.
Join Writing Organizations
Involvement in organizations helps build a network of professionals within your same industry. You may learn from and use this affiliation in building your writing career.
Work to secure endorsements from experts within your industry or from recognizable names. This association will add credibility to your name and work.
Get Book Reviews
Make a list of bloggers who review your particular genre, and pitch them your book. When you promote your book on your blog, e-newsletter, or social media, ask people to post reviews, and make sure to provide a link and some basic instructions.
The important thing to keep in mind about building and growing an author platform is the end goal: You want to create a network that helps readers discover your book(s). Just remember, as with all marketing, small and incremental efforts add up over time. Do a little every day to help build your platform.
Want to learn how to successfully market your book? Get a copy of our free guide, the Book Marketing Checklist! It includes strategies every author needs to consider for marketing their book.
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